Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Calories & Carbs

The moment I realized that counting calories was somehow more important to me than counting carbohydrates was a moment that has stuck with me.  Last week I went to the diabetes education centre for a three month check-in.  Before my appointment I had to fill out three days worth of food logs including the carbohydrate count and the doses of insulin.   Of course I left this to the absolute last second, just before bed and my appointment was at 9 a.m the next day.   

Luckily for me, I didn't have to think back, trying to imagine what occupied my plate three days ago, instead I pulled out my food diary and copied down the food that I wrote down.  It was all accurate, I don't neglect to write a food item down, but the only missing thing was something very vital to diabetes, the carb count. 

I don't always keep a food journal or keep up to date on apps like MyFitnessPal but when I am looking to make healthier choices, lose weight or maintain my weight I need something to hold me accountable. So, that is when I begin logging down what I put into my mouth, including the calorie count so I know what my limits are, both for minimum and maximum amounts of calorie intake. This system works for me, and while sometimes I question its control over me, I know that if I wasn't keeping note, the pounds would find their way to me somehow.     

But, the issue is that while I know basic carb counts for most of the things I consume, they are not my focus, and really haven't ever been. Not as much as I think they should be.   I spend way more time looking at the calories of food than I do at the carbs and mostly because I know a majority of the food I am eating, which is mainly wholesome, non-packaged food, so I don't bother in knowing the specifics, but rather guesstimate a good chunk of the time.

And, I am not awful at it.  In fact since I began food logging again {December 29th} I have rarely had high blood sugars and instead have gone low more than ever, reinforcing that no carb is made alike. My nurse and dietician were very happy with my blood sugars and the extensive checking I have been doing, but all in all when I had to fill out those food diaries I spent a good chunk of the time scanning my cupboards, googling and estimating how many carbs were in the food I was consuming.  Calories, were so vividly marked all over the page, I knew exactly how many calories I consumed each meal, each day.  

Like I said, in that moment I realized I was paying a whole lot of attention to calories and neglecting to think about the carbohydrates. Both things really do have an impact on my body and how in the world am I going to manage my diabetes if I am not thinking very wisely about how many carbohydrates are in each thing I am eating.  [Needless to say, I am not eating high carb food] but it is still important. 

Growing up I always struggled with body image and weight. I remember the teasing and comments that have been said in the past, many, many years ago and despite being so long ago they have always stayed in the back of my head.  Losing weight and seeing myself in a positive light has likely been on my mind since late elementary school and after being diagnosed with diabetes, health really came a key component in my life, never have I ever seen so many doctors, dieticians and nurses nor had to look at food in such a practical light. 

Diabetes gives us an outlook on how food effects our bodies and minds and while at times it can become incredibly unhealthy and obsessive  there are moments when we need to step back and think about what is important, losing weight to be 'skinny' or being healthy.   For me, not properly counting carbohydrates is not okay, and I need to regain that focus.  I can check my blood sugar fifteen times a day, but if I am not giving proper doses for my carbohydrates, what good am I doing? 


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